Faafu Atoll

To the south of the large Ari Atoll is Faafu Atoll measuring 27 kilometres in width and 30 kilometres in length. Out of the 23 islands in the atoll, five are inhabited and one has been selected for development as a tourist resort. In this atoll too, almost all the islands are on the eastern side of the atoll. The geography of the interior of the atoll is similar to that of Ari Atoll, with a number of patch reefs and small submerged thilas.

The channels in the northeast corner of the atoll promises great diving. A short flight of 30 minutes on a seaplane would get you to this atoll from the airport. Although the atoll is not well known for its fishing, it is the main occupation of the 2,000 inhabitants of this atoll. The island of Nilandhoo at the southern tip of the atoll is well known to Maldivian historians.

The famous archeologist Thor Heyerdahl excavated an archeological site here. It was discovered that at one stage the island was a centre of Hindu worship before the conversion to Islam. There were probably seven Hindu temples on the island. More important for today’s Maldivian is the 800-year-old mosque on the island built by Sultan Mohamed Ibn Abdhulla, who was responsible for converting the country to Islam. This mosque was built using stones from the older Hindu temples. Inside, it is decorated with fine Arabic writings.

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